Pope Pius, of course, had to have a residence worthy of his lofty status, and his dining room, bedroom, library, and other chambers are appropriately and stuffily regal. Nothing in the cavernous salons, home to the pope’s descendants until 1968, are going to incite much enthusiasm, nor will the dry-as-dust audioguide that steers you along an ordained route (the earnestly dull slog might make you yearn for a bit of mirth, a la Pee-wee Herman asking to see the basement at the Alamo). The bright spot is the palazzo’s hanging garden and triple-decked loggia, reached through the painted courtyard; you can linger a while to take in the devastating views south over the Val d’Orcia. With a setting like this it’s easy to see why Silvio Piccolomini (he later added “Aeneas” as a first name out of love of the tales of Virgil), born into an impoverished branch of a noble Sienese family, wanted to return to this humble town of his birth after an event-filled life as a humanist scholar, gout sufferer, itinerant diplomat, and pope from 1458 to 1464.
Piazza Pio II
Our Rating Hours Mid-Mar–mid-Oct Tues–Sun 10am–6:30pm; mid-Oct–mid-Mar Tues–Sun 10am–4:30pm Phone 0578-74392 Prices Admission 7€ adults, 5€ students and children 6–17, free for children under 5 Web site Palazzo Piccolomini
MapPiazza Pio II Pienza
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.